1 Kings 14:1-15:24; Acts 10:1-23a; Psalm 133:1-3; Proverbs 17:7-8
When our daughters (Sarah, Mary and Esther of OYBthree65) were in high school and junior high, they attended a Saturday conference called “Walk Thru the Bible” with the youth group from church. And they learned a quick and accurate history of the whole Bible that has contributed to their knowledge of the Bible to this day. I remember them practicing at home “Israel’s kings: all bad. Judah’s kings: some good, some bad.”
“Israel’s kings: all bad.” What a dreadful commentary. Not one good king for two hundred years.
Today’s reading focused on Judah’s kings and events that cover over sixty-one years. We learn that Judah and Israel were constantly at war with each other during the long reigns of Asa (a good king) in Judah and Baasha (yes, a bad king) in Israel (1 Ki. 15:16). This period, often called “The Divided Kingdom,” will last just over two hundred years until Israel is taken captive by Assyria. Judah will endure another one hundred fifty years before being taken captive by Babylon. All the hard work of the Exodus, the conquest of the land, and the glorious kingdom of David will come to an end as Israel and Judah consistently refuse to obey the LORD God.
A kingdom is dying.
In Acts 10 we see the opposite; a kingdom is thriving. A devout Gentile named Cornelius, who is a high ranking military officer in the Roman government, is about to learn from Peter, who is just understanding this truth himself: that Jesus died for all the people of the world, not just the Jewish people (see Acts 10:43 in tomorrow’s reading), and that “anyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Peter experiences a vision of a large sheet with all kinds of animals and reptiles in it, and to be sure he understands it, the vision is repeated three times. There’s no mistaking the fact that the Lord is communicating a truth to Peter! He is told, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” While he is still pondering the meaning, men come from Caesarea and ask him to come to the house of Cornelius (vs. 22).
Things are about to change in the advancing Kingdom of God. Peter and Cornelius will lead the way in the fledgling church’s understanding that the Law is no longer needed; Jesus’ lifeblood erased the distinctions that formerly existed.
This new kingdom cannot end; it is growing to this day over two millennia later.
“God’s Kingdom. One King. Always good.”
- Nell Sunukjian
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